February 9, 2014

It's time for the Walking Dead to come back from its hiatus and pick up where it left off at the mid season finale. To catch you up, here's my full recap of 'Too Far Gone'. We come back to chaos, namely, the demise of the Governor and the destruction of the prison. There were many questions left unanswered, like what has happened to baby Judith? Her carriage was empty, soaked in blood. Did she perish as well from the Governor's attack on the prison? Are Mika and Molly full gun molls now after using the knowledge they learned from Carol? Who else was on the bus when it took off with Maggie and Glenn? As the zomboids overran the burning prison, I noticed that Daryl ran off with Beth, Michonne was alone, Rick was with his son Carl and Tyreese probably escaped with Mika and Molly, because they saved him.

My insight was correct because showrunner Scott Gimple appears to have laid out the next eight episodes to close out season four by focusing on how these different groups will survive after their apocalypse family was ripped apart by the Governor.

'After' or the aftermath of the shootout at the prison corral picks up right where we left off at the end of episode eight. It focuses on the immediate plight of Rick, Carl and Michonne entirely and how they deal with the latest destruction. One part deals with Carl growing into a teenager and resenting his father for treating him like a child and the second story line deals with Michonne's isolation and depression over losing family.

There's an overhead shot of the burning prison infested with zombies as Michonne holds her Katana sword in her hand as she checks out the scene. She cuts her away across a field until she puts a pair of domesticated zombie-pets on a leash like the good old days with her and Andrea. Am I forgetting something or do they always just turn docile when you cut their arms and jaws off? She comes across Hershel's severed head that is still zombie-alive and she ends its existence.

Roll Credits

A pissed off Carl and a badly beaten up Rick are walking down a road until they come across Joe & Joe Jrs BBQ Shack and find some supplies. Carl is exhibiting typical teenage resentment/growing pains because now he's fed up with his father and disagrees with everything he says while cursing like a kid from Queens. He's still upset that his father gave up (abandoned) leadership of the group to tend to his garden. They find a house and hide out in it for the time being.

Michonne Backstory Alert!

Michonne is sleeping in a car and has a nightmare about her past before she met Andrea. She dreams of her baby boy, her boyfriend Mike, and their friend Ted. The sequence stays in the same apartment of her dreams, but shifts in time from a beautiful scene before the zombie outbreak to how it is now. Mike marvels at how well she uses the sword, but asks her 'why?,' meaning what's the point of living like this in this new world. In a flash, her baby is gone and both men have their arms cut off like the zombie pets she keeps and she starts screaming.

In the morning, Carl can't seem to wake his father and as he yells at him to wake him up, a couple of knucklehead zombies come a-knocking at the door. He goes outside and lures the two away from the house. Unfortunately, he's a little too cocky about it and another zombie jumps out of nowhere, as is their wont, and tries to bite him. Surprised, he winds up having to waste a bunch of bullets to kill all three of them as they fall on top of him. It was a close call, but when he leaves, he turns back and tells them, "I win." He gets back to the house and starts yelling at an unconscious Rick, who has become useless once again. He tells him that he doesn't need him to survive and that he blames him for the deaths of everybody at the hands of the Governor.

They counted on you. You were their leader! But now, you're nothing. I'd be fine if you died.

The house they've squatted in is in a nice residential area that seems pretty barren of walkers and Carl goes out exploring. He comes upon a house and tries to knock down a door by smashing his shoulder into it, but almost knocks himself out instead. He finally enters to clear it away from zombies and see what he can salvage and gets surprised by another zombie stuck in a bedroom. This time he runs out of bullets and gets trapped in the bedroom as the walker descends upon him. Carl scrambles away, just avoiding zombie-diseased chompers, but loses his shoe in the process. Carl closes the door to seal it in and then he writes on the door "There's a walker in inside and he got my shoe, but he didn't get me."

Using her zombie-pets to blend in, Michonne slowly walks within a pack of walkers. She's reverting back to her old emotionless self before she met the prison gang when she sees a black female zombie that seems to call up a memory for her and instead of stuffing her feelings deeper inside her, she finishes off the entire pack of walkers, including her two pets. She rejected living like she was before she became part of her new family.

Carl thinks Rick has turned into a zombie because his breathing has become so raspy and he hadn't moved all day so he aims his gun to kill him, but he just can't do it. He starts crying and admits that he was wrong. He wants zombie-Rick to end his misery and bite him.

Just do it.

But Rick isn't dead, just still badly hurt and whispers to Carl, telling him not to go outside. Carl holds Rick's head in his lap and tells his father how scared he is.

After Michonne ditched her zombie pals, she follows some footprints until she finds Joe's BBQ, where she collapses and tells her dead boyfriend how much she misses him and that they could have still lived together with their son. She now understands the 'why' of it all. It's all about family and for her now it's her prison family. She kills a zombie outside the BBQ Shack and then comes upon a newly eaten huge can of pudding on a porch outside a house. When she peers inside the window, she sees Rick and Carl together and she starts weeping. That's the new family that she loves and almost lost. The family that kick-started her will to live again. She knocks on the door and Rick sees her through the peephole and tells Carl, "it's for you."

* The episode was pretty simple overall, it didn't take Carl too long to figure out he wasn't ready to live on his own and as soon as Michonne saw some footprints in the mud, you knew she would reunite with Rick and Carl. It wasn't like anybody had much time to get very far away from the prison except for the bus carrying Maggie and Glenn.

* Will any survivors of the Governor's clan be featured too?

* I still miss Hershel.

* Oh, and where's Carol?

* Do you like the direction the series is headed?

Episode Grade: B

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